If you sung Hey Soul Sister in your head whilst reading that you are my new best friend.
So, I'm updating a little late, but I had to finish the chapter today and I've been at volleyball camp all day, which is basically an intense workout baked in an oven of intensity glazed with pain. But, I'm updating, so let's hear everyone say "yaaaayyyy".
Thanks and such go at the bottom, because I love you, this chapter is a stupid and bad conclusion to the story that is done...eh. :P
When Clint reached a state barely remotely close to awareness, he groaned, immediately feeling one thing and nothing else. The horrible, mind-clouding numbness that came with drugs. Drugs to take away pain. Pain that had made him pass out. Great.
He focused on peeling open his eyes, a stab of agony jutting through his eyeballs despite the IV he was undoubtedly hooked up to. He couldn't feel this numb and not be in the hospital. The doctors just loved to fill him up with enough shit so he couldn't stand without seeing the world swirl around in pretty colors. The artificial light above him stabbed down on his eyes, and he turned sideways, moaning once more as he shifted onto his side. A dull ache in his head began to accompany the deadened feeling, and Clint blinked hard, blurry eyes focusing on something on his bed, next to his thigh that was covered by a thin blanket and a just as equally thin hospital gown. They were shoes. Fancy shoes, attached to legs with fancy pants. Attached to a man that liked to believe he was fancy. Shit part was that he was fancy, he was just a jerk about it.
Tony Stark didn't look up from the Time magazine with him and Pepper on the front when he spoke, and Clint registered the fact that the man was wearing his Aviators indoors. Again. "Good midnight, Clinton."
"S-Stark." Clint croaked, swallowing in an attempt to soothe his raw throat. His hand found the nasal cannula on his face, and he crossed his eyes to look at it, immediately regretting this decision greatly. "W-What-"
"They took that god-awful respirator out of you a few hours ago, saying that you were finally beginning to breathe again and that you would wake up any minute. Guess you didn't really get the memo." Tony spared one glance at Clint over his glasses before looking back to his read, blatantly flashing the manilla folder he was really reading out from behind the magazine. "Did you know that your middle name is Francis? It really is fascinating."
"How long?" Clint's voice grated, and he reached for the glass of water on his bedside table, taking it with shaky fingers. He barely got it into his mouth, some of it dribbling down the front of his gown as he struggled to sit up. Tony made no move to help him, and for once, Clint wasn't mad at him for something he did. He was glad, relieved. Tony knew that he didn't want to be helpless.
"Oh, I'd say about...five days, give or take a day."
"What?" Clint choked out the rest of the water he was trying to swallow.
"Don't strain yourself, Feathers, don't want you to have an aneurysm or something." Tony mumbled, pulling his lips up in something mixed between a smirk and a grimace. "Natasha was devastated. Barely slept. Didn't eat. It was like something out a soap opera. She's going to be pissed that you woke up when she was on a pre-dawn shower run. She was totally hoping for a gushy reunion with lots of tongue."
Of course Barton knew this wasn't true, but he did his best to glare at Stark anyway. Tony flashed him a cheeky smile. "The flowers are from me, by the way. Heard you liked dahlias."
"Bullshit." Clint coughed out. Tony scoffed.
"Okay, yeah, Banner likes dahlias." He rolled his eyes. "And he got them for me, but it was with my money, so it still counts."
"How did you let me sleep for five days?" Clint growled, pressing a palm to his forehead.
"Well, see, it wasn't really our choice, Francis. Comas are tricky little shits. I wasn't really here the whole time, I stopped in a few times with food for Romanoff. Speaking of, your sexy little Soviet will be back any minute now, and you can ask her questions while I sneak out the door and collect my ten dollars from some of the newbies."
"Wha-" Clint shook his head. "You bet on whether I was going to wake up from a freaking coma?" His voice ached from not using it, but he continued, his raw vocal chords making his voice sound like that of a pissed off drunk grizzly bear. "As soon as I get out of here, Stark, you are so totally on the top of my kill list."
"Ooh, scary." Tony mused, raising his eyebrows at something he was reading. "Really. You got shot in the ass in '05? Can I see it?"
For the first time Clint realized the horrible pain in his head, and the fact that there was a terrible draft on the right side of it. His hand instinctively snapped up to his cranium, a look of anger and shock taking over his features as he found a large amount of gauze wrapped tightly around his head, and worst of all, an obvious arching hairline just above his right temple.
"They shaved part of my head?" Clint cried, incredulous. Of course, in his current state, it seemed more like a growling mewl than a threatening shout.
Tony looked up. "Oh, yeah." He replied, seemingly unconcerned. He reached behind him and produced a small Zip-lock baggie. "I kept some of it."
"You-what-" Clint was lost for words, and for the first time in a long time he wished unconsciousness would come to him. He pressed a finger lightly to the side of his head that was covered in gauze, and instantly fell back, white pain blinding his eyes. He didn't pass out though. Pity.
Tony grabbed his arm. "Whoa, whoa, don't do that, tiger. You got shot there, remember?"
"Not really." Clint moaned, throwing an elbow over his eyes and wondering what he did to deserve torture by Tony Stark. Of course, he knew, but this seemed so, so much worse.
"Oh. well that's unfortunate." Stark mused, leaning back again and snapping up Clint's medical records like a newspaper. "We had a grand ole time."
The 'sure we did, Stark' was lost in the air as Clint opened his mouth, and nothing spilled out. He shook his head, pinching a point on his arm in attempts to clear his foggy head. Really, all he wanted was for Natasha to come and take him away from the dreaded white, sterile hell, but it seemed like he was stuck there, with Time Magazine's Most Admired Douchecanoe as his guard. And then there was the fact that he didn't think he could really run more than a step and a half.
"Of course, I'm expecting a medal for this," Stark rambled on, still wearing those damn sunglasses that he wouldn't take off, and Clint was two seconds away from ripping them off Stark's bearded little face. "I told Fury that he didn't need to bother with the Medal of Honor, just something shiny would do. Oh, and I demanded a puppy. For both of us, actually, two separate puppies. I don't want to share a puppy with you, Barton, I have a feeling your sharing skills weren't very honed in assassin kindergarten. I thought that you'd want something tough, like a pitbull, or a rottweiler, or something. I decided on the pitbull, it was small but smart and mean, kind of like you."
Clint's head spun, and he was still stuck on the sunglasses and the fact that Tony thought he needed another shiny thing to add onto his person. Tony kept talking, eyes not wavering from their spot on Clint's medical file.
"Well, for me, I felt like I really wanted a puppy of some sort, because puppies are just so damn adorable that their irresistible. That's when I got the idea for a puppy sidekick, you know, for crime fighting? It could have its own suit and everything, and it would be perfect, since I hate kids, and who wouldn't look into the puppy eyes and surrender? Don't answer that. Pepper really likes chihuahuas for some reason, ever since we went to this place in Malibu and this woman had one...well, I guess it was a little cute. It was tiny, though...had an attitude. Looked like it could hold its own. Maybe not against a pitbull, but if I just held it up in front of Thor when he got mad, we'd have no more problems! Well, besides the whole 'Other Guy' thing Bruce has got going on, but I doubt that can be fixed with a puppy. I thought about it, but he's pretty fond of that cactus I got him for Arbor Day, and you don't even need to water it!"
Clint bit his lip, staring at Tony. The Stark in question flashed the injured man a white smile, and Barton just blinked heavily.
"...You want an Iron Dog?"
"Yes!" Tony jumped a bit, grinning from ear to ear. "The Iron Dog, Iron Man's best friend and trusty companion! Oh, the press will love this, it'll be great for the kids. Hey, JARVIS, mark that in my important list, would you?"
"Right away, Mr. Stark, right alongside the U.N.'s nuclear negotiations and that issue you spoke of in Canada."
"Oh, right." Tony's face fell, his voice taking on a tone of clear distaste. "Canada."
"You put JARVIS in here?" Clint asked, looking around. "In the hospital?"
"I had JARVIS installed in all of Fury's hideouts." Tony shrugged it off like installing an advanced supercomputer capable of sarcasm into severely secured databases was eating waffles on Sunday morning. "And this isn't a hospital, buddy boy. Sorry to burst your stoned little bubble, but this is just a clinic we set up in the corner of a weapons base. The infirmary was full, shocker, but Red, White, and Boring wanted you to be treated right and wake up in a comfortable environment. I don't think it's all that comfortable, to be honest."
Now that Tony mentioned it, Clint could hear the whirrrrr of a huge power drill of some sort going off in the distance. He rubbed a hand up his face and around the uninjured side of his head. "Where's Natasha?"
"Stalin will be here any minute." Tony mumbled, returning to Clint's file. "You know, this thing doesn't tell me much at all. Coulson really kept you guys private. Eh, I'll just hack into Fury's databases later. This stuff is better than a King book."
Seeing Clint's blank face, Stark sighed. "I'm not even going to try anymore. I doubt you've even heard of The Mist. Probably a good thing. The movie's ending was terrible."
With a quiet knock, Steve entered the makeshift room, pulling back a white curtain Clint could have totally sworn was a wall. "Hey." Steve greeted softly, turning to Clint. "You're awake. How're you doing?"
Before Barton could respond, Tony jumped on Steve like he was fresh meat in a shark pool. "Ooh, Cap! Have you ever read Stephen King?" Steve stared at him, and Tony frowned, his eyebrows furrowing beneath the glasses. "Oh, that's right. You're old."
Steve pulled his lips to one side. "I didn't know you read, Stark."
Clint couldn't help but laugh at that, holding his sides as Tony recoiled, acting like Steve had kicked his nonexistent puppy sidekick. "I read!" He scoffed, turning down at the folder and burying his head in it, muttering to himself. "I'm a genius."
Steve ignored him and placed a gentle hand on the edge of Clint's bed, looking at him as if assessing his injuries and the probability Clint would fall over if he stood up. Barton furrowed his brow at this and bit his lip slightly. This was the reason he didn't exactly like the Captain. He respected him, yes, undoubtedly. They got along, and Clint didn't think Rogers was bad, actually, that was probably the reason he wasn't buddy-buddy with him. Steve, outside of war, away from battle, where his responsibility tethered him to the soldier he had to be, was soft. He was good.
Maybe Clint was just a little envious.
"You." Tony pointed sharply at Steve, bringing Clint out of his life-pondering thoughts. It must have been the meds. Yeah, that was it. "You would have a golden retriever."
Steve looked at Tony like he was insane, which, granted, was justifiable. He glanced from Tony to Clint, who just smirked back at the super soldier. Rogers flashed his vision back to Stark, who was smiling like an idiot. He gaped. "...What?"
"A golden retriever!" Tony clapped his hands together. "JARVIS, write that down too. Banner, Banner...he should have a german shepard, or a chow chow. We can get Romanoff a bull terrier, or a sea monster, or something."
"She likes...greyhounds." Clint yawned. "I think...she said that once."
"Typical." Tony muttered. "But-oh, we can enhance it genetically or something, so it'd win every race Romanoff would put it in to scam her targets and then off them. Oh, but ew, those races are horrible. Never mind."
Steve and Clint rightfully just ignored Tony, Clint riding little waves of euphoria, then pain. Steve looked down at Barton again.
"Thor is coming." He mumbled, pulling up a plastic chair and sitting on it. "Coming from Asgard. We sent him a message on...something, I really don't understand it."
"Rogers, you don't understand spray cheese. Or DVD players. You broke my PS3."
"Anyway," Steve continued, ignoring Tony's jibe once again. "He said, I think, Bruce and Eric really took over, uh, he said that 'he did not want his comrade to suffer and that he would bring Clint Barton gifts'." Steve made a face. "I'm not sure what kind of gifts they have in Asgard, but I don't think you'll be getting a Get Well Puppy."
"Puppy!" Tony cheered. "Puppy, puppy!"
"He doesn't need to do that." Clint moaned. "Thor doesn't need to come down here. He's visiting his family or whatever, and...I don't even know how he gets here, honestly."
"Guys, guys." Tony froze his hands. "Better idea. We get Romanoff a cat, right? Cause-cause she's a girl, isn't she, and if we all get dogs, she can have this kickass cat, like an assassin Sassy or something. Crap, you guys didn't have a childhood. Forgot you haven't seen Homeward Bound. You miss out on everything."
"...Do you want me to get Natasha?" Steve asked Clint. "I'll tell her you're awake and bring her down, make sure she doesn't destroy another garage or something."
"Yeah." Clint grumbled. "Yeah, for her sake, I guess."
"Okay." Steve stood calmly, making his way toward the door. "Oh, and Clint? Thanks for not getting shot in the brain."
Barton smirked and shrugged, wincing at the achy pain. "I try."
Steve left the room, and for a good solid six minutes (it was a record. Be proud.) all was silent as Clint stared up at the ceiling and Tony resorted to actually reading the magazine he brought. Barton squirmed in his bed, rubbing a hand down his face and letting out a groan.
"Yeah, hm, okay, Barton? I know you got shot and stuff, but I'm so bored."
"Yeah, Stark, I know you're a dick and stuff, but I'm starving."
Tony strained his ears and heard the grumble of Clint's tummy, smirking. "I thought they shot you full of morphine and drained liquid nutrition into your veins."
"Yeah, well, I want a Big Mac."
"I can do better." Tony scoffed. He jumped up onto his feet, swinging his arms around. "Alright, get up. Let's blow this popsicle stand."
"What about Natasha?" Clint moaned, but he sat up, shook away the vertigo, and unplugged all of the machines attached to him. Tony threw him a pair of pants and one of Stark's own muscle shirts. Clint didn't even protest as he put them on. Tony didn't offer Clint a hand to stand, and he didn't ask for one. They walked slowly from the room.
"Neither Romanoff nor Fury's makeshift hospital staff will realize we've left. She can meet us in the garage she trashed. JARVIS, send a message to Romanoff and Stars and Stripes, will you? Plus, she won't be that mad. You have a pain tolerance of someone who can't die, a stubborn streak the size of Indiana, and an escort with connections. You've got a free pass since you went ouchie, I've got a limo. You've got to get a hamburger, I've got to find myself a chihuahua. Let's make this happen."
Clint scoffed, actually smiling and shaking his head as he followed Tony down the hallway. It was probably the drugs still in him. Yeah, that was it.
"Fine, Stark." Clint chuckled huskily. "But you're driving this time."
"Hell no, buddy. Have you seen me drive?
Hurrah, it's finished! (Or IS IT? Yeah, it is.)
I's like to thank my reviewer Meowse for the idea for the "Iron Dog". It was a stroke of genius, and it drove me to actually write a final chapter for you guys. Truly.
I'd also love to thank EVERYONE who either 1). Reviewed, because you are so amazing that like, the northern lights look up to your amazingness, 2). Favorited or subscribed, because you make me feel all happy inside, and 3). Anyone and everyone who has shown interest in my stories or my writing. You guys have no clue how every little word you write to me and every joke of mine you laugh at makes my heart smile. It's crazy. I mean, without you guys, I tend to believe that I'm a talentless girl with a bad sense of humor. Thanks for everything. Thanks for being awesome.
On the "awesomeness" note, if you want to see the IRON DOG in actuality (meaning in cartoon form), I drew it for fun and posted it on my deviantART. My name over there is SongbirdofFrenzy! If you have an account, please comment so I can love you more.
Thanks for everything guys. I think I might write more in this fandom :) If you've got any cool ideas, don't hesitate to share :D Lovles and stuffles. When I say 'we are', you say 'cool!' WE ARE. (COOL!) GO US!